Barging through the Netherlands - Part 7

Read this travel diary from the start on - this link - or go back to Part 6 - here.

We ended up staying 5 nights in Groningen. For a number of reasons. One reason - there's an IKEA a 10
Oosterhaven mooring in the city of Groningen
minute walk away and we needed chairs and a table for the deck. We also needed mattress protectors, another pot, tumblers. etc....

Thank God IKEA pack their goods flat, and thank God again, that my husband managed to use boat ropes to fashion carriers for our new out-door furniture. We hooked a chair onto each shoulder and walked back to the boat looking like pack horses. We made three trips to IKEA.

The second reason we stayed on, my other half pulled his back out and was in excruciating pain. We decided to take it easy for a bit. Groningen had a music festival on the go at the Noorder Plantsoen Park. Sadly we never got to see the jazz and blues

The tourist info sign
The outdoor fun festival we saw in Zwolle pitched up in Groningen. Fortunately they were in the inner city, away from the marina this time. Not that the marina was a peaceful place. Two nights in a row a group of people decided to 'sing' right next to our boat. At four in the morning!  One person tried to play an acoustic guitar. It was one chord, out of key and bad. Another rang their bicycle bell. One more person bashed a bucket. The rest wailed and moaned.
Unlucky for us they came back the next night for an encore but fortunately they gave up after an hour.

The last reason we hung around was because my
Greenie catching up on the blogging
husband's cousin from the UK was coming to the Netherlands with his Dutch wife. She planned to stay with a school friend. The cousin wanted to spend some time on the water. It would be easier for us to be berthed in a place that was easily accessible. Their plans also went awry when the school friend was rushed to hospital. Then his car tyre blew. But he made it a day late and for a brief period.

The VVV (pronounced fay fay fay) or Tourism Office is located in the heart of the city in a modern cubist building. You can purchase a map there for €1.95. If you have time you do visit the nautical museum (entrance €6 for adults), or one                                  
Waterway guide and canal map
of the other museums, take an afternoon guided tour, go up the Martini Tower which is 97 metres high, visit the Prinsenhof herb and rose garden, locate the hofjes or shop till you drop. The market in Groningen on Tuesday, Friday and Saterday 9am, to 5pm is supposed to be the second best in Holland. We loved the herb and spice market - De Kruiden Specialist.

Groningen, like many Dutch cities and towns is surrounded by a moat and interlinking canals. The bridges in and out the city open in a series. Five bridges on-a-trot in, then the same three bridges on-a-trot out. This is great if you get there as they open up at the first bridge. Not so great if you get there as they closing a bridge. You have no choice but to tie up and wait until the bridge manager does the full round and comes back. The bridges do not always have signs telling you how they work. The Wateralmanak is the guide for that info. If you can read Dutch. But even that is not always clear.

Smaller boats have a massive advantage as they can slip under more bridges. Bigger isn't always better. Yachts with their masts up always have to wait for a bridge to open. For the most part boaties are a super friendly lot. They wave as they pass and chit-chat in the locks or moorings is common. We attracted a lot of interest with our South African flag. We saw plenty German flags, a few British a Swiss flag or two and a Swedish flag. That's it! But we know from one of the lock-keepers that South Africans have been on these waters. Most Dutchies know exactly where South Africa is. They are well travelled and aware of their role in South Africa's history. The only miserable people are the fisherwo/men on the banks. But to be fair we've found them a grumpy lot on every canal  we've ever travelled. Fishing can't be a whole heap of fun. We stopped waving at them.
Next week is about our time in Appingedam. Read that post by - clicking here.

Go to - My Holidays and Trips - at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on - this link.

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